Specific Phobias

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About Phobias
Specific Phobias

Specific Phobias

What is a phobia

We all have things that frighten us or make us uneasy. New places, insects, driving over high bridges, creaky elevators. And, although we sometimes try to avoid things that make us uncomfortable, we generally manage to control our fears and carry on with daily activities. Some people, however, have very strong, irrational, involuntary fear reactions that lead them to avoid common everyday places, situations or objects even though they logically know there isn't any threat of danger. The fear doesn't make any sense, but nothing seems to be able to stop it. When confronted with the feared situation, they may even have a panic attack - the abrupt onset of intense fear or terror in which individuals feel like they are losing control, unable to breathe or having a heart attack.

People with a specific phobia have an excessive and unreasonable fear in the presence of or anticipation of a specific object, place or situation. Common specific phobias include animals, insects, heights, thunder, driving, public transportation, flying, dental or medical procedures, and elevators. Although the person with a phobia realizes that the fear is irrational, even simply thinking about it can cause extreme anxiety.

The impact of a phobia on one's life depends on how easy it is to avoid the feared object, place or situation. Since individuals do whatever they can to avoid the uncomfortable and often terrifying feelings of phobic anxiety, phobias can disrupt daily routines, limit work efficiency, reduce one's self-esteem and place a strain on relationships.

Specific phobias are the most common type of anxiety disorder, affecting 19 million American adults. Most phobias seem to come out of the blue, usually arising in childhood or early adulthood. Scientists believe that phobias can be traced to a combination of genetic tendencies, brain chemistry and other biological, psychological and environmental factors.

Emetophobia - (vomit phobia)
Emetophobia is a term used to describe the fear of vomiting/being sick, and is also used to describe those who fear seeing others being sick. Emetophobes often fear being sick in public, being near people who are ill with tummy bugs etc., eating out or eating food known to carry a higher than average risk of food poisoning.

Injection Phobia - (Trypanophobia)
Trypanophobic sufferers feel panic, revulsion and symptoms of anxiety at the thought of an injection, let alone the sight of a syringe and needle. Sufferers may pass out during the course of having an injection because of intense anxiety.

Acrophobia - Fear of heights
Fear of heights is a common and sometimes appropriate feeling. There are, according to psychologists, two natural fears - fear of loud noises and fear of heights.
Yet experiencing intense fear while inside a safe environment such as a skyscraper is not an appropriate response. Let's face it - even if you found yourself in a "high" situation it would be better to have your wits about you.
Acrophobia has been defined as a morbid fear of high places. A "morbid" fear just doesn't help you.

Animal phobias:
Examples include the fear of dogs, snakes, insects or mice. Animal phobias are the most common specific phobias.

Situational phobias:
These involve a fear of specific situations, such as flying, riding in a car or on public transportation, driving, going over bridges or in tunnels, or of being in a closed-in place.

Natural environment phobias:
Examples include the fear of storms, heights or water.

Blood-injection-injury phobias:
These involve a fear of being injured, of seeing blood or of invasive medical procedures, such as blood tests or injections

Other phobias:
These include a fear of falling down, a fear of loud sounds and a fear of costumed characters, such as clowns.


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